1. Email Etiquette 101: Send to the Right PeopleSelecting your recipients may seem like a harmless part of email behavior, but it can be surprisingly risky. Slow down when you enter your recipients. Make sure, first of all, that you’re selecting the right people. It’s embarrassing to send an email to the wrong person. And perhaps you’ll risk sharing privileged information.
Don’t Oversend Your Work EmailSometimes when you select an email distribution list or load up the recipients, you’re sending the wrong message. “While there are times when other people need situational awareness, when you add too many people to the “to” line (rather than CC or BCC), they can feel that the email is a call to action,” says Green. This can cause confusion, multiple responses, even doubling work efforts. No one should receive an email and ask: Why is someone sending this to me? Oversending may also unintentionally broadcast an angry tone, since irate individuals sometimes copy everyone on an email in order to expose grievance or vent anger. Limit your recipients to those who have a responsibility or a stake in the issue. Green suggests using the @ function within the email or work messaging application to direct clear accountability for tasks.
Don’t Leave Out Important RecipientsThe other side of the problem is frustrating people because you’re leaving them out of the loop. If in doubt, consider putting someone on CC. It’s less directly a call to action, but keeps them informed as needed.
Beware the Perils of BCCWhen do you blind copy and when should you avoid it? Blind copying others is important when you are sending an email to unrelated recipients. For a newsletter or promotional mass email, for example, you will annoy recipients by sharing their email addresses with strangers. Are there legitimate reasons to blind copy in a work email context? Probably not. It’s sneaky. It feels dishonest, because the unsuspecting recipients don’t realize there’s a spy. And the person you’ve allowed to eavesdrop may respond and hit “Reply All,” thus alerting everyone that you’ve blind copied someone. So don’t BCC. It can blow up on you.
Set the Context in Your Work EmailHow you frame your email is important. “People often jump right to their questions or comments when writing an email,” explains Emil Towner, a professor of business communications. “That’s because we’re deep in thought about the topic when we start writing. The problem is the reader is usually focused on a different topic when they open that email.” Show recipients courtesy by giving them context so that they understand why they’re receiving the email. Towner suggests including these three pieces of information:
✓ the topic of the email ✓ the reason it’s being sent at this moment, and ✓ what information the email will include.“All of this can be stated in one brief sentence at the beginning of the email,” he adds.